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Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman

Little Wolves (edition 2013)

by Thomas Maltman

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1137107,804 (3.62)8
Title:Little Wolves
Authors:Thomas Maltman
Info:Soho Press (2013), Hardcover, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Uncorrected Proof, crime fiction

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Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman




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Loved this book! Great characters, twisty plot, will be great for the All Iowa Reads selection for 2014. Difficult to put down. ( )
  mojomomma | Dec 11, 2013 |
Clara Warren comes to the town of Lone Mountain, MN as a pastor's wife with a secret agenda of learning more about her own past; Lone Mountain is where her mother - of whom her father would never speak except in coded myth - died, and Clara survived. While her husband gets to know his new congregation, Clara teaches English at the high school; there, she meets Seth, an outcast who is drawn to her teaching of Beowulf. But when Seth commits a terrible crime, both Clara and Seth's father Grizz feel there must be more to the story than what is apparent on the surface. Separately, they begin to uncover dark secrets about the town. The story alternates between Clara and Grizz, always in third person, and Clara's sections include some of her father's stories as well as some myths she writes down for herself.


Few people know you so well as those who hate you. (20)

From one [box] she hefted out her Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, which she figured a suitable weapon for doing battle with ghosts trying to take up residence under the stairwell. She held the substantial bulk of the alphabet in her hands, a word for every reality. Madness was for when words failed. (28)

This is what she discovered two nights after the murder: In birth all things are kindred, the sounds we make universal to any species. We enter wailing of a lost world. (30)

Writing was her prayer. (60)

"God gave us an imagination. It may be one of the most beautiful functions of our brain. He left the space open for us to fill." (156)

The dead carve out a space inside us, taking up residence like a man stepping under a willow tree in the rain to sit beside the ghost of our former selves. In this manner each of us is haunted, and who would have it any other way? (216)

The story of what happened went on reverberating in the words and gestures of everything people in town said...all of them knowing there was no language large enough to take the awfulness away. (322)
  JennyArch | Sep 19, 2013 |
Set on the Minnesota prairie, in 1980, this novel opens with an horrendous act and a father who needs and wants answers. The tone from the beginning is ominous and the story just pulled me in and kept me there. Small town, life, farms that are failing, a preacher's wife who has ties to the place but doesn't really understand how or why she has been drawn there. A father who told his daughter stories of wolves and mythology, Beowolf, wolves, coyotes, what do they all mean and where does the evil begin and end? Sensitive characters that are attuned to their environment, a reckoning, revenge, so many parts to this novel. The setting is stark, somewhat barren, the writing crisp as the reader seeks to understand what is happening in this town. Apparently this author has a previous book that I now very much want to read. ( )
  Beamis12 | Jan 10, 2013 |
Little Wolves
Thomas Maltman

My " in a nutshell" summary...

A tragedy occurs in a small town and because of this lives are changed and a multitude of secrets are discovered.

My thoughts after reading this book...

This is one of those tremendous tragic novels that only truly gifted storytellers can master. It's a story of tragedy and sadness that mesmerized me as the reader. It's the kind of horror and nightmarish tragedy that can not even begin to enter our imaginations. This book is sad and graphic and filled with animals and stories. I am a person who cannot bear to see or read or hear about an animal that is cold or sad or hungry. This book had all of that but had such a tremendously powerful story that I plunged on.

This is about a father and son family unit. They do the best they can and yet the son makes a horrible choice with disastrous results. Grizz...the father...needs to know why. In this quest all of the other secrets and stories begin to unravel. Clara...the young pastor's pregnant wife... is involved in ways she can't even imagine. But she is an integral part of this unravelling. Old stories, coyotes, truths and half truths all play a role in this sometimes surreal novel.


What I loved about this book...

I was so tortured by Seth...Grizz's tragic son. Clara's role was fascinating, too. I knew from the start that she was a key player but I wasn't sure how or why. That again is the mastery of this writer. The ending of this book is phenomenal. Oh...I loved all of the coyote stories, too.

What I did not love...

I was always afraid for the animals...the bull, the cows, the kittens, the coyotes...I wish I could tell you more about them but that would spoil the story.

Final thoughts...

I believe this novel to be one of the great ones...haunting story, flawed characters, evil...pure evil in a small town. Pretty much a must read in my book! ( )
  PattyLouise | Jan 10, 2013 |
Little Wolves is a tough novel to explain. I understand why some people do not like to see the word “literary” used to describe a novel type but, for lack of a better word, I am going take the notion one step farther and will call this one “literary crime fiction” – or “literary thriller.” That is exactly what Little Wolves is: a character and setting-driven novel with a plot encompassing elements of both the mystery and thriller genres. It has an exciting story to tell, and it tells it in literary fashion.

Lone Mountain is one of those 1980s Minnesota prairie towns in which everyone pretty much knows the business of everyone else, a place where personal grudges are sometimes carried for decades, and even passed from one generation to the next. And when, shortly after the arrival of a new pastor and his wife, the town is shocked by the shotgun murder of Sheriff Will Gunderson by a local teen, a violent chain of events is unleashed that will finally expose the ugly core of this little community.

As Grizz Fallon, the young murderer’s father, tries to make sense of what his son has done, he learns how little he really knew about what was going on in the boy’s day-to-day world. But the more he discovers about his son and what drove him to kill, the more resistance Grizz gets from the remaining town sheriff, a man who has had it in for Grizz for a long time. Grizz, though, believes that he failed his son and, despite being warned to mind his own business, he will not rest until he knows the truth about what happened on that bloody morning.

Grizz is not the only one feeling guilty. Clara Warren, the new preacher’s wife, now believes she could have prevented the shooting if only she had had the courage necessary to do so. Clara, who has a strange personal connection to the town, encouraged her husband to take the Lone Mountain job for reasons she has not been entirely honest with her husband about. But the more she learns about her past, and its connections to the present, the closer she comes to cracking from all the pressure.

Thomas Maltman has written a complicated novel, one that can be read and enjoyed on several levels. The novel has the kind of action that most pleases thriller fans, and the mystery at its core is an intriguing one. Even better, it is filled with well-developed characters (of the hard-to-like, but easy-to-understand variety) and a complicated set of dual plots (filled with literary references) that tie together beautifully at the end.

Now that I think about it, maybe I should have called it a “literary page-turner.” ( )
  SamSattler | Dec 19, 2012 |
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Their family farms devastated by a Minnesota drought in 1987, a father searches for answers after his son commits a heinous murder, while a pastor's wife returns to the town for mysterious reasons of her own.

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